Outer Banks Community Foundation accepting applications for COVID-19 grants

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting applications from nonprofits for a fifth round of COVID Rapid Response Grants, as well as applications from any nonprofit for any type of charitable project benefiting the Outer Banks.

During this cycle, the Community Foundation is especially encouraging grant proposals from groups addressing childcare and remote learning needs during school closures.

To be eligible for a COVID Rapid Response Grant, programs must be urgent in nature and must be related to the Coronavirus crisis, either directly (e.g., programs to stop the spread) or indirectly (e.g., assistance to workers without child care). True to their name, COVID Rapid Response Grants have an expedited application process and a fast-track decision timeframe. COVID-related requests must be submitted by 5pm on Friday, July 31 via a one- or two-page letter, plus attached budget, with funding decisions made by August 7.

“The Outer Banks continues to face unprecedented challenges through the COVID crisis,” said Lorelei Costa, the Community Foundation’s executive director. “One challenge that we’d particularly like to address is the urgent need to support working families of school-age children while our schools are closed. We are very interested in helping families that must work during the school day, as well as families with children with special learning needs.”

Earlier this year, the Community Foundation awarded more than $150,000 in COVID Rapid Response Grants for a wide range of programs, including nutritional assistance, internet connectivity for at-home students, and financial assistance for the unemployed.

To apply for a grant, nonprofits should first review the grant guidelines published online at www.obcf.org/grants, and then call the Community Foundation at 252-261-8839 to discuss their project and funding needs.

In addition to COVID-related projects, the Community Foundation is also accepting applications for any charitable project benefiting the Outer Banks through the Community Enrichment Grants Program. Community Enrichment Grants are offered on a competitive basis for any kind of nonprofit program, including: arts & culture; animal welfare; children & youth; education; the environment; disaster relief & prevention; health; historic interpretation & preservation; and other human services.

Most Community Enrichment Grants will support the direct costs of a charitable project or program. In 2019, for example, the Community Foundation sponsored pet resuscitation masks for Dare County fire departments through the Coastal Humane Society, furnishings for the Monarch Beach Club’s day programs, and renovations and new appliances for the Roanoke Island Food Pantry.

Some limited Community Enrichment Grants are also available to nonprofits for program staff wages. For example, a grant in 2019 is allowing the Community Care Clinic to retain a Spanish language translator and interpreter to provide medical care to low-income, uninsured, and under-insured patients.

Community Enrichment Grants also are awarded for capacity-building projects, with a goal of enhancing a nonprofit’s long-term effectiveness, financial stability, and/or program quality. For example, grants were awarded last year for software for the Outer Banks Relief Foundation and for computer equipment for Interfaith Community Outreach.

Additionally, the Community Foundation awards program scholarship grants, which are grants to enable a nonprofit to offer “scholarships” to individuals and families with financial need or other hardship. The scholarships offset the registration fees that the nonprofit would normally charge for any kind of enrichment program, such as an educational offering or tutoring program.

While applications for COVID Rapid Response Grants may be in the format of a brief letter, applications for Community Enrichment Grants must be submitted via the Community Foundation’s online system. The deadline for Community Enrichment Grants is also Friday, July 31, but Community Enrichment Grants will be awarded on September 3. All applicants are urged to call the Community Foundation at 252-261-8839 before starting an application. More information can be found at www.obcf.org/grants.